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Posts Tagged ‘Ed Brubaker’

Avengers Vs. X-Men #2

June 18, 2012 Leave a comment

June 5, 2012

Title: Round 2

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction
Script:
Jason Aaron
Pencils:
John Romita Jr.
Inks:
Scott Hanna
Letters:
Chris Eliopoulos
Colors:
Laura Martin
Cover Art:
Jim Cheung & Laura Martin
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

With the Phoenix Force returning to Earth, Hope Summers seems to be the logical candidate for its chosen host. The Avengers have come to Utopia so that Captain America can ask Cyclops to turn the girl over into their custody. Cyclops isn’t having any of that, though, and this issue, war breaks out.

This issue is almost entirely action – it’s the Avengers vs. the X-Men, just as the title of the book promises. On that front, at least, it delivers. There’s a lot of fighting and a lot of property damage and a lot of hero-on-hero violence as the characters draw their sides and decide quickly who’s going to fight who. Some of this is fairly logical – Doctor Strange battling Magik, for instance, or Quicksilver heading straight in to trade blows with his father, Magneto.

The problem is still that the whole book is lacking in logical sense. Cyclops seemed ready for a fight long before Captain America arrived, and the rest of the X-Men with him. Captain America came in with an entire helicarrier full of Avengers. The thing that just doesn’t make sense, though, is why. Given the number of times these characters have worked together in the past, the notion that these two heroes would go in expecting a battle, having basically decided that negotiation is not an option, is absurd. There’s never any chance that this issue could be talked out, because Captain America comes in with his big guns and Cyclops is already waiting to throw a punch from the moment he arrives. This issue, which basically just follows the violence, is notable only for a pretty effective scene where it becomes clear exactly what Wolverine’s priorities are. Although he’s not the only character to have a foot in both the Avenger and X-Men camps, he’s probably the most interesting one, and it’s not hard to see this entire miniseries shaking out to be the ultimate Wolverine showcase.

John Romita Jr., as I’ve said before, is a strong artist, but not particularly suited for large-scale cosmic events like this one. He’s more of a street level artist, and the way the moments of big power fall flat here makes that clear.

After two issues, I already feel like this miniseries – one I hoped would escape the problems of Civil War, is simply doomed to repeat them.

Rating: 6/10

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Somebody’s First Comic Book-Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1

June 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Wondering what Somebody’s First Comic Book is all about? The explanation is on this page!

CREDITS:

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art:
Dale Eaglesham
Colors:
Andy Troy
Letters:
Joe Caramagna
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Cover Art:
Carlos Pacheco, Tim Townsend & Frank D’Armata
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: Dude definitely has a “Captain America” vibe to him… hey, wasn’t his name “Steve” in the movie?

IMPRESSIONS: Ah, he is Captain America. Or… he was. But he’s not now… looks like he’s a super-spy, and the grandson of the guy who turned him into Captain America in the first place is in some sort of trouble, so he has to save him.

Okay, I can work with this.

The book actually gives us just about everything we need to know. It recaps Captain – um… Steve’s origin pretty succinctly, and it shows us why that’s relevant today, as there are evidently enemy spies trying to recreate the experiment that made Steve a super-soldier in the first place. The fighting is cool – whether he’s wearing the mask or not, Rogers kicks a lot of butt in this issue. It’s a trifle confusing why he’s not Captain America anymore, or why he’s just going around with no mask on and everyone knows who he is, but there’s enough to go on to make the story comprehensible and enjoyable.

But man… “Steve Rogers” has got to be the worst superhero name ever.

Really? There was somebody called “Maggot” in the X-Men?

Never mind.

GRADE: B

Avengers Vs. X-Men #1

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment

April 14, 2012

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction
Script:
Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:
John Romita Jr.
Inks:
Scott Hanna
Letters:
Chris Eliopoulos
Colors:
Laura Martin
Cover Art:
Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

The Phoenix Force is coming to Earth, and the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe are about to go to war over it. I’ve said before that I like the basic idea behind this event. There’s a natural conflict here. Captain America sees a force of globally-devastating power headed to Earth and wants to stop it. Cyclops sees a force that may well be able to reverse the devastation of the mutant race the Scarlet Witch caused on M Day. And in fact, they’re both right.

The execution, however, is very flawed. The scene with Cap and Cyclops, where all this is spelled out, is clunky and overwritten. Scott is spoiling for a fight at the outset, which I suppose isn’t totally out of character for him these days, but still feels off in the presentation.

Wolverine actually comes off best here. As a member of both teams, he’s got his own conflict to deal with… not to mention the personal relationship he had with Jean Grey and the fact that he’s seen firsthand just how destructive the Phoenix Force can be. If there’s anyone here who can legitimately seem divided, it’s him.

I’m not terribly pleased with John Romita Jr.‘s work on this issue either. I’ve always liked his work on street-level heroes like Spider-Man and Daredevil, but when he goes for the big-scale cosmic stuff, it doesn’t really. Work there are two large panels here – Hope blasting Cyclops, Cyclops blasting Cap – that feel very similar, but that both look like they could have been accomplished better. Different lines, different colors, I don’t know exactly, but they failed to excite me the way they should have.

It’s not a terrible book, but it’s a weak opening to an event that should have kicked off with a bang.

Rating: 6/10

Catwoman (2002 Series) #34

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

August 22, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Cold Hard Facts (War Games Act One Part Seven)

The Gang War threatens to engulf Gotham’s East End… and Catwoman’s not going to let that happen.

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Paul Gulacy
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti
Colors: Laurie Kronenberg
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Paul Gulacy & Jimmy Palmiotti
Publisher: DC Comics

“War Games” continues to impress with this issue, a major one in the storyline that again succeeds in telling part of the overall whole without losing the individual feel of the title. When the Gang War spreads to Gotham City’s East End, Catwoman’s area of town, she takes it upon herself to put the soldiers down before any innocent people get hurt. You see a lot of Catwoman’s methods in this issue, including a more brutal handling of some of the mobsters than Batman would likely approve of, plus a rundown of the rules by which she runs her section of town.

There are two more major sequences in the book – Catwoman speaks to Leslie Thompkins, the doctor who took Bruce Wayne in after his parents were murdered, and is astonished to find she blames herself for the violence engulfing the city. Leslie isn’t the only one carrying around culpability, though, and the end of this issue answers some of the major questions that have been shadowing this storyline since day one.

Gulacy’s artwork is in top form this issue, including a great car chase/shootout scene at the very beginning that works very well to show how tough a contender Catwoman really is. He does have some problems with scenes of Catwoman and an unexpected companion at the end once the two of them are out of their masks – he does a very good job of them in costume, posing, choreographing, but once the masks are off the faces are a bit too angular, too pointed, and don’t look quite natural.

Overall, a fine issue, and an important one. If you’re getting all of the War Games chapters, this issue will be waiting for you anyway. If you’re only planning to get some of the crossovers, though, rest assured, you need this issue. With the exception of last week’s Robin, it’s the biggest one yet.

Rating: 8/10

Captain America (2005 Series) #28

December 7, 2011 Leave a comment

July 16, 2007

Quick Rating: Good
Title: The Death of the Dream Part Four
Rating: T+

Sister Sin decides to delve into SHIELD, while Bucky tries to hunt down the Red Skull.

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Steve Epting & Mike Perkins
Colors: Frank D’Armata
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover Art: Steve Epting
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The post-Steve Rogers Captain America rolls on this issue. Bucky continues on his quest to avenge Steve’s death, while Falcon tries to keep him from going over the edge. Sister Sin, meanwhile, is planning to break into SHIELD to bust out her captured boyfriend, Crossbones.

It’s no real secret that I’m not as in love with this title right now as a lot of people. The Bucky storyline, the whole quest for vengeance, isn’t a bad story, but it feels like it’s been done before. I haven’t gotten the twist or the kicker that really makes me invest in this story emotionally. The same goes for Sister Sin – a good story, but not a particularly innovative one.

The most interesting scene here, really, is one involving the Marvel Universe’s new favorite whipping boy, Tony Stark. Tony gets a vague message that, frankly, does have me intrigued, and I’m much more interested in seeing where that story goes than where Bucky or the rest of the cast are going.

Epting and Perkins continue to turn out beautiful artwork. D’Armata’s color work helps too, giving the artwork sort of a painted feel without going so far as to try for the photorealistic look that most painters want.

This is a good title, but I can’t help but feel like it’s riding the crest of controversy instead of groundbreaking storytelling at the moment.

Rating: 7/10

Uncanny X-Men #486

October 4, 2011 Leave a comment

May 15, 2007

Quick Rating: Almost Good
Title: Endings and Beginning (Chapter Twelve of The Rise and Fall of the Shi’Ar Empire)
Rating: T+

Lots of spoilery-type stuff happens!

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Billy Tan
Inks: Danny Miki
Colors: Frank D’armata
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Nick Lowe
Cover Art: John Watson
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The year-long “Rise and Fall of the Shi’Ar Empire” finally comes to a conclusion in a story I can barely discuss, because the spoilers really begin on page one. Here’s the set-up: the X-Men and the Starjammers invade the coronation of Vulcan as the new Shi’Ar Emperor. Darwin makes a play to save Charles Xavier, and the status quo is significantly shaken up.

There’s actually quite a bit of good stuff in this issue. The changes to the two teams at the end feel quite logical, and the battle with Vulcan is fairly exciting. Brubaker does take the opportunity to hit the reset button for one character, but as it’s a button I’ve been expecting to get pushed for over a year now, I’m not tremendously surprised.

So why is it “almost” good? Because, simply put, this isn’t the end of the story. Now when dealing with a serialized comic book, you expect there to be plot threads left dangling. After all, something has to happen next issue, right? But when you invest a year in a 12-part storyline, you expect a real conclusion, not just a resting place before moving into the next stage of the same story, and that’s what this issue feels like.

If you’ve been enjoying this storyline, if you’re anxious to see more of it, this is a book you’ll enjoy. But if you’ve just been waiting for this to end, I think you’ll be sorely upset.

Rating: 7/10

Catwoman (2002 Series) #30

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment

April 24, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: End of the Line

No more teasing – Catwoman and Zeiss go for blood!

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Paul Gulacy
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti
Colors: Laurie Kronenberg
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Paul Gulacy & Jimmy Palmiotti
Publisher: DC Comics

It’s been some time since Zeiss carved up Catwoman’s pal Slam Bradley, and Ed Brubaker has been dancing around the inevitable confrontation between the two characters ever since. Things finally come to a head in this issue in what amounts to almost a full-length fight scene, with the two of them tearing through Gotham City as they try to tear each other apart.

The book isn’t 100 percent action, though, as the fight scenes are punctuated by flashback sequences to the origin of the brutal killer Zeiss. Brubaker deserves credit here for recognizing something that not enough writers understand – if you need to give us some background information, a flashback sequence is always preferable to stilted expository dialogue that lurches us out of the scene.

Interestingly, last issue I was starting to get the feeling that this story arc was dragging on too long and hoping that this would be the conclusion. Instead, Brubaker sends us on a roller coaster to a last-page cliffhanger that has me anxious for the next issue.

While I can understand that Paul Gulacy’s artwork isn’t everyone’s favorite, I think he does a solid job on this title. There’s a lot of action in this issue, and more than a little blood. Gulacy does a fine job portraying each panel in mid-punch or halfway through a backflip. Close-ups of Zeiss with his freaky goggles are nice and creepy. The art isn’t perfect – the faces of some of the supporting characters look a little tacked-on and it took me a few panels to recognize Joe, one of Catwoman’s “agents,” in the nighttime colors of the scene. Overall, though, it’s a good looking comic.

This book walks a thin edge – part superhero, part action, part crime drama. Fortunately, these are all genres that Ed Brubaker handles very well. I didn’t jump onto the book at the same time he did, I’ve only been with it for six months or so, but they’ve been six solidly entertaining months. This is the most this title has had me anticipating the next issue yet, and that’s saying something.

Rating: 7/10